lululemon's coal pollution

Is lululemon taking climate action to reduce its runaway climate pollution?

Fashion is one of the worst climate polluting sectors on the planet, responsible for around 5-8% of global climate pollution - more than Germany, France, and Canada combined. It will be impossible to solve the climate crisis without the fashion industry taking bold climate action.

Known for its iconic yoga and athleisure wear, lululemon promotes itself as a “healthy lifestyle” brand, but unlike other sportswear brands, it has done very little to move its supply chain off of coal and other fossil fuels. As one of the biggest and most rapidly-growing sportswear brands in the world, the Vancouver-based company has to take immediate action to stop burning coal for manufacturing its products and transition to 100% renewable energy in its supply chain by 2030.
 

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lululemon’s products, including its Team Canada Olympics outfits, are made from coal

lululemon uses factories in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia and other countries that are powered by coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth. According to in-depth supply chain research conducted by Stand.earth, which traced lululemon’s products that were imported into the U.S. back to where they are manufactured, 48% of the collective energy used by the factories across Asia that make lululemon’s products comes from coal. Meanwhile, only 5% of the energy used to power these factories comes from clean renewable energy.

This year, lululemon is outfitting our Team Canada athletes at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and Paralympic Games.

We took a closer look at what Team Canada athletes will be wearing during the opening and closing ceremonies, and unfortunately, these outfits are made in factories that are significantly powered by coal and very small amounts of renewable energy. Ironically, coal is not only a major source of harmful levels of air pollution being reported in Beijing in the days leading up to the Olympic games, it also poses a serious threat to the Winter Olympics, as worsening climate change increasingly degrades winter sports conditions.

lululemon-team-canada-olympics-outfits
*The following sources were consulted to estimate the percentages of coal and renewables that were used to manufacture the Team Canada uniforms: Cambodia, China, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam

lululemon’s reliance on coal in its supply chain contributes massively to climate pollution and harms the health of workers and surrounding communities. And unless the company actively commits and acts to phase out coal from its supply chain, its coal pollution may even increase as countries like Vietnam expand coal power in the coming years.

lululemon may also be on track to increase its emissions significantly in the coming decade, instead of cutting its climate pollution in half by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement, unless it takes immediate steps to switch from coal to renewables.

Lululemon graph
Despite a global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, lululemon’s emissions increased by 12% in 2020. Read more here.

lululemon earns D- in our Fossil Free Fashion scorecard

The lack of meaningful progress in eliminating coal and other fossil fuels from its supply chain has earned lululemon a D- in Stand’s Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard, which places the company far behind other leading sportswear brands such as Nike (C+).

lululemon score in the fossil-free fashion scorecard
Check out lululemon's full score here.

lululemon should be working hand in hand with its suppliers to get them off of coal and onto renewables today, but the brand has done next to nothing in this department. Sure, lululemon has reduced the emissions from its stores, but what about the other ~95% of emissions that come from its supply chain?

Lululemon is a coalprit

lululemon is polluting the climate and people’s bodies with deadly coal pollution.

It’s time for lululemon to truly elevate itself to greatness by cleaning up its coal pollution and to become a leader in renewable energy!